Enver Gjokaj, Michael Rowe and Violett Beane talk Sci-Fi, Representation and What it Means to be an Actor

Starstruck fans of the science-fiction TV show genre were delighted at the announcements of three stars from the biggest shows in sci-fi; Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse, Agent Carter, Dexter), Michael Rowe (Arrow, Tomorrowland: A World Beyond, Lies) and Violett Beane (The Flash, The Leftovers, Tower)

Gjokaj began the panel solo, grinning as he walked in. “You know the fight between Marvel and DC? Looks like Marvel won. Those guys won’t be joining us.”

He takes his seat, and the first question is in regards to why Agent Carter had such an intense and adoring fanbase. Gjokaj ponders, then mentions that it had the same issues Dollhouse had, first of all that it just didn’t have the right home.

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“With Agent Carter, the truth of the matter is, a female led sci-fi/fantasy show is hard for the networks to get people to come and watch. As much as fans like it, as much as there’s a group of people who are ready for that – like, beyond ready – network television is still a place where they gotta get a bunch of eyeballs. And I don’t blame them, that’s just how the money works.”

With Agent Carter it does seem to be the issue – whilst the petitions to bring Peggy Carter’s show back for a third season reached thousands upon thousands of signatures, the network numbers themselves did not do well. Whilst fans are still battling with Netflix, Hulu and other media outlets to bring her back, there hasn’t been a sure sign of anyone picking the show back up.

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“ABC really wanted that. They really wanted to push that, they were really behind it. They gave it a whole second season. It was just hard, it didn’t really find a large enough audience. But I think the people who really loved it, it’s because…unfortunately, it’s ahead of it’s time, or you could say that it’s totally overdue.”

“But Hayley? Sometimes you find an actor who just melds so perfectly – I mean she’s brilliant in everything – but with that character, it’s just such a perfect meld. The concept is great but then Hayley is so much of an integral part of the show.”

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Gjojak also mentioned that what he also found attractive about the show was taking the idea of a Noir, detective style show, with a detective who punches his way through situations with a secretary by his side – but with a woman playing the lead role. “It’s a great, great concept…” he trails off. “As I start to cry.” Despite the joke, it’s clear from the way Gjojak speaks of Agent Carter that he does think incredibly highly of the show. “It was just really smart, the writers are fantastic, great concept, great execution, great actors – and you get used to it as an actor, you know? Getting your heart broken, it’s not fair.”

Gjojak also goes on to talk about other roles – such as his adoration for his role in Dollhouse as Victor, one of the Dolls, and the fact that it was such a huge role that he’ll “never get again” because of the great concept. He also touches on working on Community as Luca – and explains how not only do they do re-writes between shows, but people behind the scenes shout new lines down the mics.

With the discussion heading back to Agent Carter, Gjojak is asked what he thinks about the impact of the show.

“As an actor, you’re kind of selfishly always looking for the next job.” He explains. “And by the time something comes out, I’m already onto the next job, so I’m not really thinking about the impact it has.”

“For me, the feedback that I’ve gotten from a lot of people has been from people who are disabled. And that it was really important for them to see – and this is just a small example of the impact that you can have being on a show. But playing a disabled character who is not commenting on it or not, ‘that’s his only defining characteristic’, just being a person who happens to have a disability, and then just moves on with his life.”

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“I was blown away by how much feedback I got from people, that that was really important for them and that they weren’t the bad guy or they weren’t just kind of like a dork in the corner that was shoved off and told to stay over there. That they let that person be the love interest, and let them be together. And it didn’t really register with me how important that would be, for people.”

“We have an outsized influence on peoples perceptions,” He continues. “The fact that they can see it and that young women can see a strong, self-confident, kick-ass woman who’s really good at her job and who’s killing it. And it has an impact on people who are grown adults, because we like it and because we need it. But it has a bigger impact on  young people because it’s formative. ”

“This show was something I felt so, so good about being a part of, that I wasn’t just putting distraction into the universe. I was part of something with a good message.”

Gjokaj is then asked what the next step is in terms of role – that if he was speaking to a casting director about his next step, what would he ask for?

“Everybody asks you that as an actor,” He shakes his head. “And the truth of the matter is, life – and definitely life as an actor – is not “Fill in the Blank”, it’s multiple choice. You take the best job that’s offered to you. And you actually spend most of your life as a young actor freaking out and really upset that you didn’t get some job, and then a job comes along that’s just so much better, and you’re so glad that you didn’t get that job.”

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“Being an actor kind of beats you into a zen – it breaks you.”

It’s shortly after this that Rowe and Beane finally join the fray – after a brief sit-down with Gjokaj and getting settled, the questions begin again.

Starting with Violett Beane, the question asks her what it means to be part of The Flash and why people all around the world love the show so much.

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“It is an awesome show. That’s why people like it.” She beams with pride. “I mean, I think people of all ages and types can enjoy it, it’s super light-hearted and fun. But I love being on it because I get to be a superhero. I get to put on a suit, and look really cool, and work with amazing people, and work in an amazing city. I don’t know, its an incredible opportunity and I’m just so lucky.”

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And how important is it for her to be a female hero in that universe that is so often male-dominated?

“Absolutely, I mean I don’t know how it’s take them so long. They had a female speedster but she was a villain. I don’t know how it’s taken them so long to do that, and you know the other female characters are slowly getting their powers and getting more of the spotlight in it. But yeah, you’re absolutely right. It feels amazing to be a part of that and to be a girl, a woman going into that. It’s great, and I think it’s important.”

And what was her reaction when she first saw the Jessie Quick costume?

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“I was so psyched! Oh my gosh I’d been waiting so long for it to happen and it finally did. I love the suit, it fits like a glove and it’s perfect and, yeah. It’s great.”

The two DC’er’s are then asked about Flashpoint, and the fact that the DC shows are all crossing over a lot strongly now – which show would they love to be in on?

Rowe grins. “I want to go back on [The] Flash. It’s a fun set to work on, a little bit more of a looser kind of feel? That’d be fun. But Legends of Tomorrow seems like that’s a good time too. I’d check that out.”

“Yeah, Legends [of Tomorrow] does seem cool with all the time travel” Beane agrees. “Like I feel like you have a different look every episode, and that would just be so fun, to work with costumes and hair and make up. But Arrow would be really fun? I love Echo Callum over there, he’s a really good friend of mine.”

“But yeah, any of the shows. I mean they’re all up there now, so it’d be fun.”

The three then discuss their favourite moments on set.

Rowe confesses that the first stunt scene he ever rehearsed with the stunt team that he ripped the ass on his jeans. “That was pretty hilarious.”

“Hit a cameraman in the neck with a fake baton when I was supposed to throw it at one of the other stunt guys. There were a lot of bloopers that stand out in my head. Maybe I just have a cruel sense of humour?”

Beane suggests Rowe hit the cameraman with the baton on purpose. “I didn’t, I promise!” laughs Rowe.

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Gjokaj’s favourite moment on set involves what he dubs as “Stroke Face Dominic Cooper” – naturally, a name caused by notorious prankster Hayley Atwell.

“Somebody snapped a picture, and it was upside down and from far away. So we zoomed in on his face and because of the lens warp, it was ridiculously messed up. And so we zoomed in and then we flipped it around – and it’s just the worst picture. We call it ‘Stroke Face Dominic Cooper.'”

“And he saw it and immediately was like, (insert English accent here) ‘No. Absolutely not. Not funny. Not funny.’ And he started grabbing everybody’s phones and they were like okay, we’ll delete it. And then all of the sudden you hear a bunch of phones go, ‘Ping!’ And Hayley had been deleting it, but then she emailed it to everyone.”

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“And now, ‘Stroke Face Dom’ has been turned into a painting, it has been printed onto iPhone cases-”

“This has turned into his worst nightmare.” Nods Rowe, clearly showing that twisted sense of humour again at Cooper’s misfortune.

“It has become his worst nightmare,” Confirms Gjokaj, rubbing his hands together. “And I’m actually right now, I’ve commissioned something from somebody that is about to arrive at my house. I think it’s my pièce de résistance.”

“That’s amazing,” Beane laughs. “Well, nothing like that. We play a lot of games on set. Most recently, the game Exploding Kittens.” At the rooms confused stares (including Gjokaj and Rowe’s) she continues, “Okay, everyone at these conventions knows it, it’s awesome!”

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Another interviewer asks what kind of advice they would give to a budding young actor who’s trying to break into the industry.

Beane recommends to be yourself. “And study your craft. I think it’s really important that you get into a class. It helps just learning and knowing what I’m doing.”

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“With acting, it’s not always the same as being a musician where you can just pick up your guitar at any point in time, and you can play it, and learn and do more. You sort of need to be instructed and given scenes, and worked with by people. So I think it’s really important to study it, absolutely.”

“I always make sure people know what the reality of being an actor is like.” Gjokaj offers. “I always ask people ‘Have you ever interviewed for a job?’ And if they’re like yeah I ask, ‘well do you like it?’ and they’re like ‘no’ – that’s the job. That’s what being an actor is really like on a day-to-day basis. I interview for hundreds of jobs a year, and I’m rejected from most of them.”

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Rowe advises that “if you love acting, do it. If you love it, do it and do it as much as you can. It’s like any job, just keep working and then something will happen at some point.”

Rowe is also asked about how the script issue coincides with his thoughts on the Suicide Squad interpretation of Deadshot.

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“As far as the other Deadshot? I was really rooting for that movie to do well and to be something special. And you know…it is what it is. I’ll leave it at that.”

He also explains (being prompted by the question of what draws them to a project) that being an actor is reading a lot of crappy scripts – a lot. He then surprisingly confirms he hasn’t auditioned for a single role in over six months, because of the amount of scripts he’s read that he isn’t engaging with.

However, he delights the room by telling them that he’s working on his own movie currently, that he wrote, and is currently filming on the East Coast of Canada. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it’s going well and I’m enjoying it a lot.”

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“If you’re offered a character, there’s two ways; it’s either you relate to it and it’s something that is familiar to you, or something so far away from that that you think ‘I wanna see if I can do that’, and you’re up for the challenge.”

Beane definitely agrees with that. “Definitely the story, and the characters, and their development is really important. I think it’s really important to, as a woman, to feel empowered by my role and not contribute to the mindset of what women have always been played as. I understand period pieces, and I understand certain races played certain roles in the past, and certain genders as well. And so if it’s a period piece I can understand it, but I also wanna be a part of the movement and the future, and so I look for roles that are empowering.”

Michael Rowe, Enver Gjojak and Violett Beane were special guests at MCM Comic Con in London.

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An interview With Zach Green, Producer Of Heir

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While “HEIR” is running the festival circuit during 2016 we of Skatronixxx.com had an interview with one of the man behind this short, producer Zach Green from Fatal Pictures.

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Can you tell us how you got in being a producer / casting director / editor?

I attended film school back in 2002 in Toronto for film post production, which was initially what first drew me to the industry. In my final semester at school, I applied to be an editor on a short drama which happened to be written and directed by Richard Powell.

As Richard and I would go on to produce more films throughout the years after graduating film school, I started taking on the role of producer, so Richard could focus on the creative aspects and elements. Such as writing and directing. So slowly but surely I would go on to produce our films that Richard would write and direct. As for casting director, that’s just another role I felt I would take on myself and cast the best talent I felt fit for the role, and bring them to Richard’s attention, and we would go from there, and have auditions etc.

So far you have worked on several shorts. What would your next step be?

The next step for myself and Fatal Pictures, is to try and tackle the feature film world. And hopefully be producing our feature debut next. But with such strong love and passion for the film industry, you never know what will happen. We might just produce another short film if the stars line up for it.

What would your dream production be? And who would star in it?

Something written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, produced by Eli Roth, Jason Blum and of course Harvey Weinstein.

Is there somewhere the readers/fans can see any of your previous work?

Absolutely, I would love everyone to head over to iTunes, and check out Fatal Pictures’ previous film, entitled Familiar (2012). Check out the full film via this link here.

Our first feature film might possibly be the feature length story of Familiar. The award winning short is a great proof of concept for the feature.

What would you like to share about this short with our viewers? 

The short film “HEIR” is a very powerful and thought provoking film that deals with a very sensitive and taboo subject matter, but done in such a brilliant and artistic way, I really do feel any cinema lover will be able to appreciate this twisted little tale.

You’ve been round the festival circuit; can you tell me anything about what these festivals are like, and how someone would go about entering a film into a festival?

I couldn’t be happier with the festival run “HEIR” has received thus far. Sure there will always be some festivals you won’t get into; you can’t get into them all.

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The festivals have been great. It’s always a pleasure if I am able to attend them. But that’s unfortunately that’s not always the case. I like to think the cream of the crop will always rise. So if you make a great piece of cinema, it will get noticed. But with that said, you still need to push it out there. You can make the best film, but if no one sees it, it might as well be a coaster for my beer.

To go about getting into the festivals on the circuit, you would just apply to them via WithOutaBox or Film Freeway or whichever way you’re instructed to submit to the festival.

What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

You can expect to see a lot more from Fatal Pictures, a few more film festivals in the upcoming months for “HEIR”, and then it will be available digitally in 2017 via iTunes, Google Play etc

Also, we are hoping to produce our feature debut in the upcoming months, but either way, expect to see a lot more of Fatal Pictures.

Could you tell our readers one fact about yourself that they may not know already?

I was first drawn to the film industry through editing and post production, and organically became the producer I am today. Naturally wanting the best for my films as possible. You usually do end up wearing multiple hats as an indie filmmaker, but that’s actually a good thing if you ask me, it gives you a little taste of different areas of producing a film.

Finally what advice would you give to people who are new to the trade?

I’m not going to say something cliché like follow your passion etc. etc. etc. But what I will say is, Good luck.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

I would like to encourage everyone to head over to http://www.fatalpictures.com to stay up to date with all the latest news and screening dates. And follow us on Twitter & IG @FatalPictures.

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For more information about Zach, check out his IMDB page http://www.imdb.com/name/nm237423  and find out more about his upcoming projects as well.

HEIR: a great horror short!

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Heir is a 14 minute horror short starring o.a. Bill Oberst Jr, Robert Nolan, Justin Major, Jane Pokou, and Mateo D’Avino. This short is written and directed by Richard Powell, who did an excellent job I must say on both the writing and directing.

IMDB describes the plot of the movie as follows:

“After connecting with a stranger of similar interests online, family man Gordon and his young son Paul embark on an ill-fated road trip in which Gordon aims to indulge in a secret passion. Before the day ends a horrible truth will be uncovered and a harsh lesson will be learned.” (Written by Richard Powell)

I have absolutely nothing to add to that, without giving anything away. The storyline itself is haunting. It has left me guessing and wondering; what if. The scariest part about it is that is often not a what-if scenario. It actually happens and that is the most terrifying of all.

Heir has done something that horror movies haven’t done to me in a while; scare me. Recently horror movies have made me laugh, however this short with little dialogue and excellent music score made me shiver at times. So a job very well done.

The subtle sound of a clock ticking while you wait for what comes next is terrifying in itself. Without even looking at the screen what happens . There are more scenes like this; which I must admit I like very much. Have a look at the teaser from the film and you know what I mean.

To be honest I haven’t seen many shorts and from what I have seen they didn’t impress me much. This short surprised me in so many positive ways: the directing, the music, the casting and the acting.

Seeing this short it didn’t surprise me however that the short was nominated for Best Horror Short & Best Supporting Actor (Bill Oberst Jr.) at FilmQuest this year. (The results of this festival will be announced the 23rd of June.) Bill Oberst Jr. is perfectly cast in his role as Denis. His physique has added to the creep and scare factor of this short. His acting was suburb and gave me chills as to how scary it was.

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So in conclusion Heir is a brilliant horror short in my opinion. To me this is horror at its finest. It will gross you out and haunt you. I for one am curious to see if you all share that same opinion. Unfortunately it won’t be released to the public until 2017 via ITunes, Google Play and other platforms. But let me assure you the wait is worth your while.

Heir was a cooperation between writer and director Richard Powell and producer Zach Green from FatalPictures.  We had an interview with the latter about this film and about what we could expect to see from him next.

Mr. Kidd Speaks – An Exclusive Interview With Julian Black Antelope

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Julian Black Antelope as Mr. Kidd, Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler, Stephen Lord as Mr. Roper

Greetings Dreadfuls, fans of Blackstone, Skatronixxx peeps and everyone else! Recently I had the distinct pleasure of meeting and interviewing Julian Black Antelope. Dreadfuls will recall that he played Mr. Kidd in the final episode (Sn 1 Ep 8) of Penny Dreadful – Grand Guignol. Mr. Kidd and his partner, Mr. Roper were hired by Ethan’s father to bring him back home, a job that Ethan put a quick and bloody end to. Since I only started reviewing Penny D this year (although I have watched since the beginning), if my attention hadn’t been drawn to the fact that Julian is local, I would have missed out on the incredible opportunity to talk with him. Thanks, Sis! Love ya!  Read on for details of my interview with this incredibly versatile, interesting and down to earth man.

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An Interview With Model And Actress Ahnikah Hendrickson

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Hi Readers

It’s been a while since we’ve had an interview on our site. Recently I got chatting to another one of my followers. She is an actress and have been in hit shows such as Allegiant and Vampire Diaries and if that’s not cool enough for you she’s also a model! Yes a model, but that’s enough spoilers from me, let’s find out about Ahnika Hendrickson 🙂

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An Interview With American Actress Erin Stegeman

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It’s time for another interview on http://www.skatronixx.com , this time we chat with ‘modern day triple threat’, Erin Stegeman. She can act, write and produce films and was previously a stand up comedienne.

Erin is one of our followers on our twitter account and I approached her for an interview after reading her bio. I thought her wide array of talents would be an interesting read for you. After a couple of emails and getting to know Erin an interview was agreed.

Let’s find out some more about another insanely talented and awesome member of our #SkatFamily Erin Stegeman !

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1) Wow you’re certainly a triple threat, can you tell us how you got into acting and film making?

A: Well thank you. I’m so honored to hear that! It’s a weird adjustment to really sink into this idea of multi-tasking because, for a long time, I felt like I was pretty crappy at most of those things. I never studied screenwriting or film directing formally, so most of my training has been on set literally doing it. I’d write and perform plays with the neighbors. I always wanted to do everything back then too, mostly because I was the oldest and I was a ten-year old with a vision! The kids all revolted one day and called me bossy. I believe they’re all in computer science jobs anyway…

So my mom put me in piano, dance, theater – anything to keep me from running around the house and dancing in the living room next to breakable objects. I’m from the Midwest, and I was a class clown for sure, but sort of nerdy and introverted, and I was also a bit of an athlete. I felt really unclear as to what I was – there was a lot of pressure back then (and still today) to be defined by what you do and like. I loved a lot of things – which can appear unfocused and indecisive, especially when it came time to pick a major in college and then pick an area in the entertainment industry to pursue. When I was strictly acting in NYC and LA, I was miserable. Even though I loved performing, there was something missing for me. Being happy was an uphill battle. Then, one day I just decided to start doing more things that I truly enjoyed, whether they were acting-related or not. I started experimenting with Twitter and writing. I quickly fell in love and opportunities began to come easily. I found a comedic voice, but also a reunited love of genre content. Instead of fighting the divide I started blending it all. Now I approach things project to project as opposed to this title of what I do. It’s much more from a place of “how can I best serve this idea?”, which feels more like who I am.

There was this moment though in college – I was presenting a scene for my theater directing class, and I had selected one of the witch sequences from MACBETH. I added a dance routine, the Harry Potter theme song, special effects, modernized it, and made Macbeth a female…I just went all out. To this day one, it’s still of the best moments of my life. When that scene ended, I knew I wanted to direct. I still have the feedback sheet from my professor from that.

2) You are well known from ‘Once Upon A Time: The Rock Opera’, can you tell us how you got involved with the project and how the idea came about? Also are you a fan of the TV show?

Back when the show first aired, a few friends from Facebook started posting the show’s poster on my feed and asked if that was me. I had literally just dyed my hair back to blonde from red after being compared to Emma Stone at every single audition. Life is super ironic and you just have to go with it. I checked out the show and became addicted quickly…it was around season 2, I had just started writing and Youtube was booming. I wanted to do something, so I came up with this idea of these fairytale characters not yet seen on OUAT in a 12 step support group in Storybrooke, led by Emma. It was written, shot, and up in less than a week. We had an amazing response to the video which allowed us to make a few more episodes. I want to be clear – this wasn’t poof and now life is easy! It meant launching social media, networking in the once community, and taking daily actions to stay relevant. But, I loved it, so it was easy to stay motivated.

I started exploring making short films and wanted to go in a different direction with the series. I love films like ROCKY HORROR and DEVIL’S CARNIVAL, that are much more of an audience experience, sort of merging movies with convention culture. I wanted to mirror the same, so we decided to go with a rock opera. I had no clue how to write music and even hired another director because I’d never done a feature. As fate and scheduling would have it, I ended up doing both.

3) You even got to perform at Comic-Con what was that like and did you see many famous faces watching your performance?

COMIC-CON WAS AMAZING. Truly a bucket list experience. I don’t think it sunk in for us until we all went back to our rental house afterwards. My cast just sat in the living room together and we kept saying, “one milestone down”. You can’t really beat singing songs you wrote, on a pirate ship, with your best friends, in front of a shit ton of people in cosplay. I owe it all to my friend Brandon, who I met at another con. He invited us to perform and I will never be able thank him enough for that opportunity. I love when I go to other cons and people come up and say, “I saw you perform at Comic-Con!” That’s nerd gold.

4) Your first short film you wrote and directed was ‘Meet The Tweeds’ how did this come about?

Honestly, I was so jealous of my husband and his friends who were making all these horror films and having a lot of success with them, that I sort of invited myself to the party. We both have a lot of connections in the horror space, but I had never written anything. So I saw an opportunity to get a team together and possibly get some exposure. I love sickly dark comedies and satire, which is essentially what it was – this super conservative family who eats children.

The night we shot it, I thought I was going to die. It was so unbelievably difficult for me, and I was miserable. It’s very technical compared to directing theater, and when you have a lean mean team and you’re the weak link – it’s just awful. My husband sliced his arm open on set, we had 3 kid actors, we went way overtime…I thought for certain I would never direct again. Then it went up on Dread Central’s home page on Halloween, and I thought I just need to keep practicing. Maybe it will get better. Honestly it’s still awful, but enjoyable-awful.

5) You have a background in journalism, how did you find this prepared you for your very versatile career?

I was that kid that preferred to do essays instead of multiple choice growing up. Journalism was very natural for me. I had already been blogging on my personal site for about a year when I was offered a couple gigs with LA WEEKLY and THE HOLLYWOOD JOURNAL through friends of friends. The LA WEEKLY stuff was focused on reviewing web series, which absolutely trained me for everything. I interviewed successful creators, saw what they did versus others, started to cultivate relationships at YouTube and at Sundance, and really learned everything behind the scenes of content creating. I was unattached to the job, so networking became fun again. I highly recommend sinking your teeth, however you can, into the world you want to be a part of. I interviewed celebrities that I would NEVER have the courage to approach, but because I had this fancy PRESS badge on, it gave me courage…and contacts for future projects.

6) Is it true you have been in over 50 commercials? If so could you tell us what some of these were for?

I’ve not been in 50 commercials – just a handful, but I have been in over 50 films, shorts, and tv shows. I’m currently the customer in that musical commercial for Amazon Prime. That was one of those incredible coincidences because I filmed that just a couple days before shooting the rock opera. Such a learning experience – I don’t think I ever left the set.

7) What’s this I heard about you winning a ‘Pig Roast Pie Eating Championship’????

My agent made me take that off my resume lol. At my college (Stephens College in Columbia, MO) the theater majors spend one summer in Okoboji, IA, performing at a local theater. It’s a crazy experience – I even wrote a screenplay about it. To break up all the stress, the theater puts on this festival called the OKOBOJI PIG ROAST. You can enter with a team and compete in these ridiculous obstacles. One of my events was pie-eating contest. I’m like a really fast eater. Impressively fast. It’s been a concern to my parents on numerous occasions. I freakin nailed this. You compete with a teammate and mine started to vomit – it was a whole cherry pie, which is the worst kind of pie. So I picked up the slack and won by a landslide. My husband (although not at the time) was on another team and he and his partner didn’t even make it through. I bring that up from time to time. My team won the entire event and I got MVP – also one of my favorite life moments.

8) What can we expect to see from you in the 2016?

The Rock Opera will be doing a screening and convention tour in the spring and early summer (indietix.net). Depending how that goes we may extend into early fall. I’ve partnered with another production company and we’re rebranding my YouTube channel (erinstegeman), so you can expect more sketches and content that expand past OUAT at a higher production value. My company is slated to direct a Sci-fi pilot this year as well, and I’m in pre production on two features – a psychological thriller and a horror fairytale musical. Aiming to start shooting the first in the late fall/winter. I have seriously never been this busy, but I honestly love every second of it. It’s been over ten years in the making to have a year like this, so I’m just gonna drink a lot of green tea and enjoy the ride.

9) Tell our readers one fun fact about yourself that they may not already know?

I love these questions and can never think of anything remotely cool enough. I climbed into the chamber of a volcano on my honeymoon. I’m a certified personal trainer. My aunt dated Brad Pitt. I didn’t get cast in any musicals in college. I see ghosts (seriously).

10) Finally what advice would you have for an upcoming actress?

I think the biggest hiccup for me was trying to be like everyone else. Be a Kate Winslet type, be a funny girl, lose 20 pounds, be younger….but YOU are a brand new thing, it’s evolutionary. Spend time really getting to know yourself. There’s no rush – I’ve had more success in my 30s than in my 20s. Have a ton of fun. Give up the diet. Self-improvement is a total myth. There’s only self-discovery – which is presenting to the world who you’ve always been. And it is so, so powerful. When you can really tap into that, there’s no stopping you.

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Wow what an interview! I for one wish Erin all the best and am sure the musical will be a huge success. If they are lucky enough to tour the UK I for one will be there supporting them!

Check out Erin’s personal webpage on erinstegeman.com and find out more about the ‘Once Upon A Time: Rock Opera’ including where to buy tickets and tour dates on  on onceuponatimespoof.com

Don’t be shy go say hi and follow ‘Once Upon A Time: Rock Opera’ on Twitter @ouatspoof and Erin’s personal account on Twitter at @erinstegeman and tell her ‘Skatronixxx sent me!’

An Interview With Top British Actress Rachael Holoway

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It’s time for another interview on http://www.skatronixxx.com and this one should be interesting!

I was contacted by Rachel to see if I’d be interested in having an interview with her on my site. Rachael is a good friend of long time supporter of the site Johnny Sachon, so this was a no brainer really.

After getting to know Rachael, I found that not only she was an awesome person, but  she also had a secret talent.

No more spoilers from me, let’s find out about actress Rachael Holoway.

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1) How did you get into acting?

My dads an actor so I grew up around the industry and decided when I was about 7 that I was going to be an actress! I started training when I was 11 and the rest is history really.

2) You were in a film called ‘Soulmates’ with friend of skatronixxx.com Johnny Sachon, can you tell a little bit about this film?

I was indeed. Soulmates is a gorgeous film based on as you would imagine…the existence of Soulmates. Johnnys character being a lecturer uses a mathematical equation to prove why he believes in Soulmates to his doubting girlfriend, myself.

It’s such a lovely feel good film that approaches a familiar subject in a fresh and imaginative way.

It was such a fun shoot! It was the second time I’d been cast opposite Johnny so it was such a pleasure to work with him again and the response the film has received has been fantastic!

3) I hear you’re also a black belt in taekwondo, how did you develop an interest in this and could we see you as the female Jason Statham ?

Haha, absolutely! He’s awesome and I’d love to be the seen as the female version of him! A butt kicking actress…that’s me! I love the action genre and my martial arts niche definately pushes me towards highly physical roles which I love!

I’ve always been such a tom boy. My dad and I would watch Bruce Lee films together when I was young and my fascination with martial arts started there.

I really wanted to learn how to fight so I started kickboxing lessons. I did that for a while and then got hooked on taekwondo and yes, I am indeed a blackbelt!

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4) You’ve been in top soaps such as Hollyoaks, Emmerdale and Doctors, how do you find acting in soaps vary from that of films?

Soaps are so fast paced. It’s quite incredible actually, the filming schedule is crazy so you move from scene to scene really quickly. Its in no way rushed, you don’t move on until the director is happy…it’s just impressive how fast the whole team infront and behind the camera work together to get the job done in the shortest time possible.

Don’t get me wrong, film shoots can be fast paced too, however the difference is these soaps are on every single day, the schedule is so intense.

On a film shoot, things can be done with a little more room for experimentation with and slightly less of a time constraint.

5) You were in TV series ‘Cloud 9’ as Kelly, could you tell us about this?

Ahh Cloud 9! So this was the first time I worked with Johnny and it was such a fun series to be part of. It was a British Asian daily drama that followed the lives our London based group. It tackled all sorts of issues and was an awesome show to be part of. My character ‘Kelly’ was the girlfriend of Johnnys character ‘Ben’ who had a real roller coaster of a relationship which ended up with them getting engaged in the series finale. I’m so glad to have been part of it.

6) What’s this I hear about you being in an advert for Hewlett Packard ?

Yes! I am a reoccurring character called ‘The App Defender’. She’s a total bad ass who never looses her cool and controls every situation with total ease…even when it involves taking 3 bad guys out at once! I love being her!

7) If you could be in one existing film, what film and character would you choose and why?

This is easy…Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. I love these films and it is just my dream role! She is the ultimate woman with so many skills. Guns, swords, bo work, horse riding, hand to hand combat, motorbikes, all filmed the coolest locations…what more could I possibly want from a role! They’re doing a re make so I’m waiting for my call!

8) What can we expect to see from you in 2016?

Well, I’m going to LA at the end of the month for some really exciting meetings so watch this space!

9) Tell our readers one fun fact about yourself that they may not already know?

I’m learning Mandarin! Very random I know but I love to challenge my brain and what better way to do that then to learn arguably the hardest language in the world! I was in Beijing this time last year and really fell for the country and its people. Such an awesome place to visit…if you haven’t been yet, go!

10) Finally what advice would you have any advice for an upcoming actress or actor?

You will only get out of this life and your career what you put in. Work hard and I mean so hard that you’re  physically and mentally exhausted and I promise you, things will start to happen.  And most importantly…never give up!!!

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Don’t be shy, go say hi! Go follow her on twitter or on facebook  now and tell her ‘Skatronixxx sent you!’

An Interview With Actress Robin Shelby (Slimer)

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It’s time for another interview, this time it’s with Hollywood Royalty YES Holloywood Royalty! The one and only actress Robin Shelby. Robin is best known to us as Slimer, yes Slimer, from the Ghostbusters franchise. Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I am a HUGE Ghostbusters fan. So this is a massive coup for the site, and I am so happy to say that I can count on Robin as another celeb member of the #SkatFamily !

Although I am a huge Ghostbusters fan, I wanted to give Robin the chance to talk about herself, her past, present and future. Let’s find out more about the incredibly nice actress that is Robin Shelby 🙂

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1) How did you get into acting?

I started doing children’s theatre in Northern California when I was about 11.  My first role was…wait for it…a Munchkin in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’.  I was hooked from that moment on.  By the time I was 16, I was getting my first pay check doing what I loved to do.

2) You achieved a cult status in the film Ghostbusters 2, playing Slimer, how did this come about and do you have any interesting stories from your time on set?

At the time I was working on Ghostbusters 2, I knew I was stepping into some pretty big shoes with this character that was loved by many.  I tried to put that out of my mind and focus on the job at hand and what they needed from me to get what they had envisioned for the character.  The people at ILM are really the best of the best, and being in that atmosphere and learning from these ultra-talented people was such an incredible experience.  A fun fact, I really was not able to eat while in costume.  (Yup, Slimer was unable to consume food while working!)    It was safer to avoid food because of the time it took to get in/take off the costume.  If I had been working and swallowed something that went down the wrong way, it would have taken some time to get out of the suit…so no food for the spud.  

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3) What’s your thought on the new Ghostbusters film?

I’m hoping the fans will love it, and it will turn out to be a fantastic addition to the Ghostbusters franchise.  I have a positive open mind because they have some very talented people in the film and behind the camera.  I’m hoping to laugh and be swept away with everyone else this summer.

4) You were also in 80’s film ‘Willow’, how did you find this experience and with the spate of 80’s films being remade do you think a remake of Willow could work?

I was able to be thought of to audition for Ghostbusters 2 because of working on ‘Willow’.  It was truly my first opportunity on a larger scale to work in the industry, and was an incredible experience.  The first day of work, I woke up with the stomach flu and running a fever.  My Dad packed me into a car that day and drove me to ILM.  Had I called in sick, it’s very possible I never would have been thought of for ‘Slimer’.  I’m a lucky girl.  

I think ‘Willow’ is such a special, sweet film the way it is.  I’m sure in the right hands an updated film would work, however, I know what the film means to me and it will always have a special place in my heart.

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5) If a film was made of your life, who would you want to play you and why? And what would it be called?

I am a huge fan of both Cheri Oteri and Patricia Heaton, and people have told me that I have reminded them of both of these actresses.  I would be over the moon if either one of them were to portray me.  It would probably be titled “It’s not easy being green”.  

6) Could you tell us about ‘Far From the Tree’ ?

‘Far From the Tree’ is a web series that I created, and my husband, Sean Spence, wrote and directed.  It’s loosely based on people I know and love, just taken to a much more intense scale.  I am very proud of the episodes that we shot, and the cast and crew we had were all amazing.  

7) What can we expect to see from you in the 2016?

We’re developing a new Web Series, I have two projects (‘Demonic Attachment’ and ‘The Gloaming’) that will be coming out soon, and you never know, there could be some unexpected new projects.  Stay tuned to http://www.robinshelby.net as I always put any news on my site so people know what I’m doing.

8) Tell our readers one fun fact about yourself that they may not already know?

When I was about 8, my older brother said he didn’t think I could fit inside a suitcase, and dared me to try.  Not being one to turn down a dare like that, I curled into a ball inside the suitcase to show him I could fit.  He then shut the suitcase with me in it, and carried me around.  He realized he then needed my Dad to let me out.  

9) Finally what advice would you have for an upcoming actress?

If you can be happy doing anything else, do it.  If you can’t and it’s your passion, don’t let anyone tell you not to go for your dream.  It really is possible to get work, just be prepared so you’re ready when the opportunities come.  Take workshops, classes, network with other people in the industry.  If you don’t have a lot of credits, consider doing student films to get some experience, meet some new and upcoming directors and get some film on yourself.

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There you go readers, Robin Shelby

Follow her on Twitter she’s http://www.twitter.com/actressrshelby and tell her ‘Skatronixxx sent you!’

An Interview With Up And Coming Actor Johnny Sachon

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Here’s Johnny!!!

As you know from my last article I spoke to actor Johnny Sachon about his film ‘Shadows’ and the prospect of how our obsession with technology could be used against us. I speak to alot of people before I work with them on the site and Johnny is a genuine hardworking down to earth guy with the same mindset as myself. We both a share common goal that if you want to succeed you have to have the drive and passion and actually go for it rather than waiting for life to hand you a break.

Let’s find out a little more about Johnny, I was lucky to have an interview with him and here we are!

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1) How did you get into acting?

My parents met at their local drama group, so I grew up around theatre and acting. I guess me being an actor was always on the cards. I did a little tv and film work growing up but it was attending drama school that sharpened my focus on screen acting.

2) You appeared in the film Shadows, I’ve seen the trailer and it looks like an interesting concept. How would you describe your character and the film to someone who has not seen it?

In essence the film deals with the privacy debate and is a dramatic extrapolation of what is already happening right now. Shadows is set in 2037, where a totalitarian British government are using all technology against the people for surveillance – TV’s, computers, phones… everything is compromised. A small group of rebels, led by my Character ‘Lee’, attempt to bring down the system in the name of freedom.

Lee is an idealist and a revolutionary. In the film we meet him in his mid twenties, years after his parents execution having been accused of working against the government. He is consumed by the loss of his parents and his need to re-estbalish personal freedom in the face of the repressive regime. Lee is calm, collected and constantly calculating but is also incredibly passionate, with a deep anger that drives him. He is the spark to ignite the revolution.

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 If you haven’t check out my article on Shadows, you need to read it NOW!

3) On Shadows you worked with director/writer Luke Armstrong who has worked on films such as Skyfall and Guardians of the Galaxy. What was it like being able to work with someone who has experience of working on such big films?

It was a fantastic experience working with Luke. He has a very clear vision about what he wants, in the development stage, while filming, in post and has an understanding of how to achieve that vision because of his experience. I learnt a lot about the technical side of film making, working at a hieght level, and in every stage of production – Even down to the number of individual components that make up a VFX shot to how the hollywood ‘look’ is achieved in the grade. Luke and I have now worked together several times since Shadows and I think that speaks for itself.
4) What was it like being involved in a science fiction film? Is this a genre you have always been interested in? Also quite a lot of ideas and modern day inventions actually have roots that are tied to science fiction, do you think that some of the ideas seen in the film we could see in the future?
I think for a film to be commercially successful, a clear genre can be really imported – even if there are a number of sub genres under that umbrella. I’ve found sci-fi to be a genre that allows the film maker to explore current issues without it being too ‘close to home’ – whether they’re exploring something like society’s obsession with the perfect appearance or having our personal privacy taken away from us to save us from a potential disaster. If the film is set in a future world, another planet or with another species, for example, the films message can be easier to absorb, rather than the, often harsh reality of simply holding up a mirror to the world. I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi films growing up so it was an absolute pleasure working on Shadows.  As I said earlier, Shadows is a dramatic extrapolation of what is already happening now into what might be. We’ve already seen that two way TV’s exist and that conversations have been monitored, potentially viewed, without permission. Drones are already being used widely and in wars for air strikes and phone hackings have been a widely publicised scandal. Sadly I imagine that many such ideas will be realised in the not too distant future.
5) You also appeared in the American horror film Rage: Midsummer’s Eve, what was that like and do you have any interesting stories from your time on set?
I worked on ‘Rage:Midsummer’s Eve’ shortly after graduating and it was my first experience on a larger budget independent movie. I never travelled much growing up so filming abroad, on an American movie, was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. Holly, who plays ‘Jessica’ in Shadows, was the lead in Rage and we have been great friends ever since. Luke and our casting director loved the chemistry we had in the audition so Holly was cast as our lead woman in Shadows.
For Rage we filmed in Finland during the summer solstice – so there was perhaps an hour of semi-darkness around midnight but that was it! One night a few of us decided to go out to a club one evening. I remember being rather drunk and very confused stepping out of an underground club into the blazing sun at 4am. There was a scene in Rage in which the group of us friends, me included, go skinny dipping in a lake. Now, I’m not a shy person but the idea of stripping off in front of maybe 30 cast and crew made me a little nervous. In the end the scene was beautifully shot and was nothing to worry about at all. The wrap party took place at a beautiful open air lodge in the middle of know where. Im very much a town boy so this was a little scary for me but after a few drinks I ended up having a traditional Finnish sauna, followed by jumping straight into an absolutely stunning, secluded lake. It all sounds a little silly now but it was quite romantic at the time.

 Not seen ‘Rage: Midsummer’s Eve’, check out the trailer here
 

6) You’ve appeared in television, film and theatre, how would you compare acting in these three different mediums?

I’ve found in TV you often spend more time working alone. There is very little time for rehearsals (if any) and filming is usually fast paced with only a few takes. Once I Embraced that, Ive found it to be quite a freeing experience as an actor because you just have to make decisions and go with it. In TV series the audience generally stay longer with the character(s), so get to see them before, during and after a life changing event. As an actor there is a lot of room to explore and develop the character as they change and grow – like any real person does.
Films are usually about the event or focused on one moment in a characters life – not so much before or after. There is little more rehearsal time,process and generally more time when filming. This means there is often more opportunity to explore various options as the character and actor within the world of the script. In theatre there is usually even more time to emerse yourself in the world of the play and the characters. It’s a slower, longer process with plenty of rehearsal. Again, it’s generally about a moment in the characters life’s but the thing about theatre is that it’s live. There is instant gratification from delivering a good performance and of course, there’s a hug buzz from the danger of it being live.
For me I’ve found something that changes for me between different mediums is my focus. In film it’s as though I’m performing to a single person and my focus must have pin point precision. TV can be a little more relaxed at times, I’m still incredibly focused but It’s as though I’m performing to a couple of people, rather than just the one. In theatre my focus widens, as the audience are often quite large, and I must reach every audience member.
7) As well as being an actor you’re also a producer how do you find the role as a producer differs to that of an actor?
I’ve found that in both acting and producing you must be self motivated even though they are very different roles. I try to separate the two as much as possible so that I can focus fully on either role. As a Producer you can be responsible for getting the film developed, getting it off the ground, bringing the cast and crew together, helping organise the shoot, work out budgets and ultimately you are responsible for everything. On bigger productions there are many different producers with varying responsibilities- but on smaller productions the roles tend to cross over. It’s defiantly not the same experience or rush I get from acting but it’s incredibly satisfying seeing a film come to together from start to finish and being a big part of that.
8) If you could be in one existing film, what film and character would you choose and why? 
That’s a very hard question – There are so many great films and characters out there. I’d love the challenge of playing a dangerous, complex character like Heath Ledgers Joker in The Dark Knight. I still find his performance fanscintating as it’s so varied and the audience never know what he’s going to do next – which makes him truly dangerous and exciting to watch. Or I’d love a situation where I had to complete immerse myself in a character and change myself entirely. For example, like Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw. I don’t get moved by films easily but his portrayal of Billy Hope was incredible. He trained for months as a fighter, to a professional standard for the role and his on screen chemistry with Rachel McAdams was just incredible. Generally I want a character to stretch me or challenge me in some way or another. As a rule, if a role or a project scares me then it’s a good sign. Im following the careers of Michael Fassbender, Jake Gillyard, Tom Hardy and Jack O Connel closely and I’m aiming to have a similarly varied career.

 Could Johnny be the next Magneto? Why the hell not!
9) What can we expect to see from you in the remaining months of 2015 and into 2016? 
Monday December at 10am I’m releasing a recent collaboration with Director Luke Armstrong. Spy Thriller – ‘The service’ with Brian Bovell ( Unforgotten, Holby City, Hollyoaks ) Sol Heras (Coronation street, Hollyoaks, Rock Rivals) Katie Goldfinch ( Shadows, The Midnight Beast) and myself.
 http://www.inspired-pictures.co.uk/service.html
Luke and I have been developing a feature length film based on Shadows the short film and now have a great script. I’m currently working toward securing funding for the feature film and I’m positive you’ll be hearing more about this very soon.
In early 2016 I’ll be appearing as ‘Lee’ in the world’s first truly cinematic interactive feature-length movie ‘LateShift’. To be released in cinemas and the app store in early 2016. This film is a gamechanger and could potentially revolutionise the way in which films are made and enjoyed.
10) Tell our readers one fun fact about yourself that they may not already know?
 In 2011 I competed in the Natural Power Lifting Championships and placed for the European finals.
11) Finally what advice would you have for an upcoming actress or actor?
Stay proactive and be persistent. It’s a business and a craft. Keep creative.

 

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Here’s Johnny! Be sure to check him out and don’t be shy tell him ‘Skatronixxx told me to say hi! ‘

  • Follow Johnny on Twitter: @JohnnySachon
  • Connect with Johnny on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnnySachonActor/
  • Check out his official website: http://johnnysachon.com/

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